Discover Just How Tall Mount Olympus Really Is

Written by Jorelle Baker
Published: November 19, 2023
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Mount Olympus

Mount Skala is one of the largest peaks on Olympus and one of the popular summits for hikers.

©cenkertekin/iStock via Getty Images

Mountains possess a unique, natural beauty that humanity cannot replicate no matter how hard they try. Constructing tall skyscrapers is an impressive achievement of human ingenuity, but nothing beats the elegance, strength, and sheer size of mountains.

One of the most famous mountains on Earth is Mt. Olympus due to its history, mystique, and mythology.

Follow along as we highlight the origin, location, composition, and rich history of one of the most popular mountains in the world.

Origins

Deep and picturesque gorge on the ridge leading to legendary Mount Olympus - the pantheon of all Greek gods and throne of Great Zeus the Thunderer. Natural and National Parks of Greece

Several valleys and gorges surround the mountain, which are part of the Olympus National Park.

©frantic00/iStock via Getty Images

Mountains form when two continental plates collide and fold onto each other. Over millions of years, the plates continue folding debris and rock upwards, forming a mountain.

Scientists suspect Mt. Olympus is over 200 million years old, resulting from the Juan de Fuca oceanic plate colliding with the North American plate.

Geological events like storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and melting glaciers form the various plateaus and depressions in the surrounding region.

Location

Aerial view of mountains, road to Mount Olympus. Green forest, blue sky. Litochoro city on background

The city of Litochoro is one of many cities at the base of the mountain.

©Karina Movsesyan/iStock via Getty Images

Mt. Olympus is one of the most historical natural locations in Greece. The mountain lies near the Gulf of Thermai, by the Aegean Sea.

Olympus National Park is a popular vacation destination for international travelers and locals.

How Tall is Mt. Olympus?

Mt. Olympus has over 50 peaks making up its mountain range.

The tallest peaks are:

PeakHeight in feetHeight in meters
Mytikas9,570 feet2,917 meters
Skolio9,550 feet2,911 meters
Stefani9,543 feet2,909 meters
For better comparison, Mytikas is approximately 1.8 miles above sea level.

Can Someone Climb Mt. Olympus?

The view from the aircraft to the top of Mount Olympus in Greece among the clouds

Olympus reaches far above the clouds, originally making people believe it was impossible to climb.

©Alika Obrazovskaya/iStock via Getty Images

The first people to ever climb Mt. Olympus were Frederic Boissanns (a photographer and publisher), Daniel Baud-Bovy (an author and art critic), and Christos Kakkalos (a mountain guide).

The trio ascended the mountain in July 1913, believing they had reached the peak. Unfortunately, moving cloud cover revealed there were taller peaks available. They climbed the mountain again, reaching the true summit on August 2nd at 10:25 a.m.

Today, it is moderately easier to climb Mt. Olympus thanks to better paths, guides, and equipment. It takes about two days to slowly climb the mountain, forcing hikers to camp overnight. Ascending too quickly up the mountain may lead to health risks due to oxygen deprivation.

Is It Dangerous Climbing Mt. Olympus?

Mountain climbing is an exhilarating but dangerous experience due to several factors:

  • Poor weather conditions
  • Getting Lost
  • Icy terrain
  • Decreased oxygen levels
  • High risk of injury

Mt. Olympus is known for having heavy weather conditions, forcing hikers to return to basecamp and end their hikes early.

Additionally, Mythikas and Stefani’s peaks are too dangerous to climb because of the icy terrain and the high chance of slipping or getting lost. Hikers are encouraged to climb Scala or Skolio, which are about 9,550 feet or 2,911 meters.

Why is Mt. Olympus So Famous?

Palace on Mount Olympus Fantasy 3D Illustration

The Stefani peak translates to “Zeus’ throne” because it was where Ancient Greeks believed Zeus ruled.

©MAXIM ZHURAVLEV/iStock via Getty Images

Mt. Olympus is most famous for its place in Greek history and mythology. The Greek gods like Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Artemis, and various others lived atop the peak of Mt. Olympus, watching the mortals below.

Ancient Greeks saw the mountain and its peaks hidden within the clouds. It is common practice for gods to live above the clouds or in spaces unattainable by mortals. Climbing Mt. Olympus was believed to be impossible, so it was the most suitable place for immortal beings to reside.

Mt. Olympus is the tallest peak in Greece, drawing people from all over the world to its majesty. Whether you love geology, geography, mythology, or hiking, Mt. Olympus will inspire you to reach great heights. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © frantic00/iStock via Getty Images


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About the Author

Jorelle Baker is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering pet care, fun facts about animals, and how humans and animals coexist together. He has been writing for his entire life, graduating William Paterson University with a Bachelor's degree in creative writing. He continued his studies at Animal Behavior College to work with animals at grooming salons and veterinary clinics. Jorelle lives in New Jersey and enjoys studying animals in myths and folklore with his cat Kana.

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